TANZANIA—The Ministry of Health of the United Republic of Tanzania, in collaboration with Gavi, the Vaccine Alliance, UNICEF, and the World Health Organization (WHO), has launched a national multi-age cohort (MAC) vaccination campaign against human papillomavirus (HPV), the primary cause of cervical cancer.

The campaign, which will run from April 22nd to April 26th, 2024, aims to reach more than 5 million girls aged 9 to 14.

Despite the fact that cervical cancer is still a leading cause of death among Tanzanian women, with over 10,800 cases and 6,800 deaths expected in 2022 alone, it is avoidable with immunization.

During the campaign, a single dosage of the HPV vaccination, which has been shown to be both safe and effective, will be provided free of charge.

Tanzania has made significant progress in improving HPV vaccination accessibility.

In 2018, the two-dose vaccination was added to the national regular immunization program for 14-year-old girls, demonstrating the government’s commitment to protecting future generations’ health.

Current coverage for the first and second doses is 79% and 60%, respectively. Collective efforts are critical to ensuring that every Tanzanian girl receives adequate protection from this avoidable illness.

Following the MAC campaign, nine-year-old girls will be routinely given the vaccination in a single dose, strengthening their protection against cervical cancer.

Tanzania’s improvement in HPV vaccination delivery is part of a larger global campaign funded by the Gavi, the Vaccine Alliance, which has pledged to reach 86 million girls globally with the HPV vaccine by 2025.

The campaign coincides with African Vaccination Week and World Immunization Week (April 24th to April 30th), when regular childhood immunizations and health education will be provided to girls in schools, health institutions, and community centers nationwide.

This week, the Ministry of Health, Gavi, UNICEF, and WHO are pushing communities to promote HPV vaccination for girls, with the goal of ensuring that no girl suffers from this disease in the future.

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